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Batch-Fabricated α-Si Assisted Nanogap Tunneling Junctions

1
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
2
Department of Chemistry, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(5), 727; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9050727
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 2 May 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 10 May 2019
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Abstract

This paper details the design, fabrication, and characterization of highly uniform batch-fabricated sidewall etched vertical nanogap tunneling junctions for bio-sensing applications. The device consists of two vertically stacked gold electrodes separated by a partially etched sacrificial spacer layer of sputtered α-Si and Atomic Layer Deposited (ALD) SiO2. A ~10 nm wide air-gap is formed along the sidewall by a controlled dry etch of the spacer. The thickness of the spacer layer can be tuned by adjusting the number of ALD cycles. The rigorous statistical characterization of the ultra-thin spacer films has also been performed. We fabricated nanogap electrodes under two design layouts with different overlap areas and spacer gaps, from ~4.0 nm to ~9.0 nm. Optical measurements reported an average non-uniformity of 0.46 nm (~8%) and 0.56 nm (~30%) in SiO2 and α-Si film thickness respectively. Direct tunneling and Fowler–Nordheim tunneling measurements were done and the barrier potential of the spacer stack was determined to be ~3.5 eV. I–V measurements showed a maximum resistance of 46 × 103 GΩ and the average dielectric breakdown field of the spacer stack was experimentally determined to be ~11 MV/cm. View Full-Text
Keywords: nanogap electrodes; gold adhesion; IOT; batch fabrication; bio-sensing; molecular junctions; α-Si; quantum tunneling; protein detection nanogap electrodes; gold adhesion; IOT; batch fabrication; bio-sensing; molecular junctions; α-Si; quantum tunneling; protein detection
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Banerjee, A.; Khan, S.-U.H.; Broadbent, S.; Likhite, R.; Looper, R.; Kim, H.; Mastrangelo, C.H. Batch-Fabricated α-Si Assisted Nanogap Tunneling Junctions. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 727.

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